Back in the UK, and breathe. Breathing into the wind in the trees and the air from the sea. Mind cooling. I have decided to only hold art retreats in the spring, autumn and winter in future. The next one will probably be in Almeria. I am excited to discover a new part of Spain, and have loved the new friends I have made in recent weeks. I am back in my studio and so happy to be painting and listening to my beloved music again, with the sound of the trees doing their autumnal wind-sway-dance. Blessed by cooler air, I am able to think again. And there is a lot to assimilate. Mainly it is about finding my heart centre in the midst of this government control, being there for my beloveds. Feeling my feet on the ground and rooting myself, using painting as visual secular prayer.
I have updated my website with photos and thoughts from the most recent art retreat:
Za kilka dni koniec lata, a mam wrazenie ze ledwo sie zaczelo, a post z 23 wrzesnia pt SummerTime 2020 – 2012re-minders jakbym pisala zaledwie przed trzema dniami a minal juz prawie miesiac…
Dzisiaj z rana w ogrodzie zauwazylam kilka nowych Motyli i wiem ze te Rusalki Pawiki narodzily sie tutaj na miejscui ze nie byloby ich gdyby nie Pokrzywa ktora w moim ogrodzie zajmuje honorowe miejsce!Jest to wciaz ta sama Pokrzywa ktorej malenka kepke przenioslam z poprzedniego miejsca i ktora wiaze sie z historia o ktorej pisalam w poscie:
You can fall in love with a place, and you can feel a sense of spiritual homecoming for a while. You can do brave things and hold art workshops in a place and gather all the people together and the paints and the canvas and devise the process, curate an inspiring music playlist, hold space for the participants for a while and plan walks and expeditions. You can jump into the waterfalls and drink the high mountain spring waters and gather the water in as many bottles as possible and take them down with you to the town with the labrynthine streets and the loud church bells which clang their quarterly message that sounds more like an iron foundry than anything holy. Then when the people leave the workshop you are alone for a while. There is a relief. The air starts to cool and you sleep and sleep and sit at the cafes with the old men. The old, round and funny waiter knows what you order; a cafe con leche and agua con gaz. You know the rental car is scratched and you didn’t get enough insurance on the car, and you try to find a bodywork painter who can fix the scratches on the car. You ask them what they can do but when they answer they put a mask over their mouth because there is a mysterious virus circulating the earth. You can’t really understand what they are saying because your Spanish isn’t good enough, and to understand, you need to partially lip-read. He says to come back when the boss arrives, so you go into town again and try to find a parking space, and everyone else is trying to do the same, tempers frayed. You eventually find a space and have to photograph the name of the street because it is miles from the house you are renting.
In the streets, the people are masked; faceless. You have bought some food at last, and decide to cook a meal that makes you feel at home. Roast chicken, potatoes and broccoli. You have friends here but feel you can never really belong. When you were young, you took off to California and France and made a home there for some years. Now things are different, and belonging isn’t something you feel you can create that way any more. Belonging is where your children are, your family is, and where laughter, hugs and endless cups of tea are shared. Where you all sing around the piano or share your stories.
You miss the sea and the rugged coastline. The green grass and the blackberries and apples of autumn. It was brave coming here alone and there is nowhere on earth quite like it and your soul is filled by flat-roofed Berber houses and the mystery and bewitching magic of mountains, that endlessly change with the light and each bend in the road. Maybe it is time to stop searching, as you already have it. You weep for the comfort of love you left behind. Does every sweet soul remind you of your father? Are you always searching for him? Your father you lost too young, when you had just had your first baby and were unable to grieve properly for him. Maybe it’s a lifetime’s work, trying to replace him. Maybe mountains are a physical manifestation of a father for you. Strong, exquisitely beautiful, majestic, priest-like. You were so lucky to have him. His name was Cliff. He was the divine masculine. Sacred. He had your wanderlust and the same rare nomadic blood group. You are so happy your son and daughter carry his genes, his height, his nobility, his humour, his gentleness and bravery.
Maybe soon, in these strangest of strange times, it is time to go home to the heart.
Yet another day comes. It feels kinder, you feel stronger and you start to not mind the alienation so much. You sit on the roof terrace at night and listen to the old women sitting in the street and crocheting the world to rights. You talk to friends and loved ones and buy yourself something beautiful, you do your laundry and tidy your room and feel a oneness and peace with this mountain town.
One thing I have is a certain determination, and when I was approached by a lovely woman who lives in Almeria earlier in the year about my art retreats, and whether I would be holding one after the lockdown, I envisaged that somehow I would make it happen. And happen it did. I didn’t push it, but it just worked out beautifully that two more local women heard about it and wanted to join us, and combined with a 5 km walk along an acequia to friend and writer Chris Stewart and his wife Ana’s beautiful farm and a delicious lunch prepared by Chris and a tour of the farm by Ana, we had a wonderful creative explorative week. We painted every day, and barely stopped for lunch and I was so happy that people got so much out of it. It is a truth that painting heals, and there has been so much to process and assimilate this year, we all needed it like food. Exploring Jungian Archetypes through my self-devised method and process was deeply revealing.
Outside my window, every night sometimes until two am, the old ladies sit and crochet and talk together in the street. It’s as though they are weaving and talking the world to rights. What a beautiful way to live. Inside we painted and talked and it was similar. The conversation flowed with the paint as we painted our worlds into healing and cohesion.
In spite of it being mid September, the weather has been exceptionally hot sometimes and I have struggled with the heat in Spain this year. Mask- wearing is obligatory in public spaces and I have adapted to that okay. The church bell in Orgiva is a constant clang as bells here are made from iron, not bronze. We made a special pilgrimage to the Salto de Paula waterfall and the Era del Trance in Ferreirola and the wonderful gazeosa spring waters.
Anima Mundi epitomises the principle “Accept all. Reject none.” Simply put, it is the living soul of the world in all its multidimensional layers, bonded together by loving cosmic forces. Diversity is celebrated, multiplicity is honoured, and nothing is denied embrace. Constructs of separation dissipate into the wonderful mess of shared consciousness. Anima Mundi is the link between the literal and the imaginal, the rational and the mythic. It is the connective fibre that makes life meaningful. This card indicates an initiation on the level of the soul. You will awaken the unique light within and witness how this light contributes to the radiance of the entire universe. You will sense yourself as a critical note in the cosmic orchestra. Destiny is altered as you hear the enchanted melody of all living things.
Using my techniques including layering, glazes, stippling, controlled drips, pattern, stencilling, dry brush- work, working with light and shade, creating veil effects and mandalas, we continued to explore Jungian archetypes through painting, gold leaf and collage..
An oceanic mermaid drum, depicting the four elements, just completed for lovely client and friend Gabriela Aluna who will be using it for sound healing and performance with her beautiful singing and drumming.